Can Whey Protein Help with Weight Loss?

by on January 13th, 2012 at 7:00 am

Weight LossA recent study found that whey protein, a substance found in milk, can change body weight and composition in beneficial ways.1

Six scientists from the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center conducted the twenty-three week study to see how this nutrient-rich protein would affect adults.

Among the ninety obese and overweight participants, the people who consumed whey protein lost weight and had a decrease in fat mass, according to the scientists.

The published results show that, at regular intervals, scientists took weight and fat composition measurements from the male and female volunteers, who were given a supplement with either whey protein (WP), soy protein (SP), or a carbohydrate (CHO).

“At the end of the intervention (after 23 wk), body weight of the group consuming WP was 1.8 kg (2%) lower than that of the group consuming the CHO…,” say the scientists in the study.

They also note that the whey protein group had a lower body fat mass than the carbohydrate group.

Physical appearance was affected, too. “At the last measurement time, waist circumference was 2.4 cm lower in the group supplemented with WP [whey protein] than in the other 2 groups…,” say the authors of the double-blind trial.

There may be a very good reason why whey protein can promote weight loss and decrease fat. According to scientist Keri Marshall, this protein is rich in branched-chain amino acids such as leucine, isoleucine, and valine.2

Leucine appears to be particularly important. Two scientists found that a high-protein diet that was rich in leucine could lead to weight loss and a reduction in body fat.3

So, regularly including whey protein in a daily diet may be beneficial when pursuing weight loss goals.

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  1. David J. Baer et al, “Whey Protein but Not Soy Protein Supplementation Alters Body Weight and Composition in Free-Living Overweight and Obese Adults,” The Journal of Nutrition.
  2. Keri Marshall, “Therapeutic Applications of Whey Protein,” Alternative Medicine Review.
  3. Donald K. Layman and Denise A. Walker, “Potential Importance of Leucine in Treatment of Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome,” The Journal of Nutrition.

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